Last night my wife and I had two other couple over for dinner. We opened a few bottles to go with the French Onion Soup and “Dewey’s” Salad.
We started with
2005 Verget St. Veran
Screwcapped. Golden in color. The nose is clean with grapefruits. Full bodied. On the palate, this is slightly crisp with some grapefruit notes and a hint of honey (not sweet though). Easy to drink and mature. A nice wine. 50+4+12+16+6=88
We then tried these wines blind. I knew what they were but not which bottle was which (in their bags). I am proud to say I was 0 for 3 in guessing the wines. At some point in the hopefully not too distant future, I would like to try making some wine and this was more of an experiment on blending preferences. The wines were opened and the blend made an hour before, so the wines got some air.
2006 Jaffurs Petite Sirah Thompson Vineyard
Purple/ruby in color. The nose is nice with black raspberries, a bit of jam and some nutmeg. Full bodied. On the palate, this is mono-dimensional. Very good but in retrospect, I think this needs plenty of time to unwind. It has a tart blackberry pie filling quality. I liked it very much but I thought it was the 100% Syrah and it was not a monster wine at all. I have a couple of these left and look forward to trying it in five years. One vote for WOTN. 50+4+13+18+8=93
2007 Jaffurs Syrah
This was excellent. I have had this about 6 times and every bottle is amazing, but this may have been the best yet. And it sells for around $30! Purple in color, opaque and bright. The nose has black raspberries, grilled meat, white pepper and is huge without being overwhelming. Full bodied. On the palate, this is obviously young but shows some complexity. It was the smoothest of all three wines. I thought it was the blend. This got 2 WOTN votes. I may need to buy even more of this as I think it has years left in it. 50+4+14+18+8=94
I took 1/3 of the above Petite with 2/3 of a different bottle of the 07 Jaffurs and put them in the same bottle. This wine obviously had the “benefit” of the most air from this procedure. My real question was would 1/3 Petite overwhelm a blend. I don’t think it did. This got three votes for the WOTN.
Inky purple in color, opaque and bright. The nose is very nice but not as nice as the pure Syrah. Black raspberries, spice, pepper and grilled meat. Full bodied. On the palate, this was the most complex and interesting wine. Plenty of young fruit with black raspberries and boysenberry qualities. There was some heat on the finish which was odd as the other wines did not show this. Still, this did not seem dominated by the Petite and really showed well. In fact, after everyone left, this was even better. It had a texture that seemed more lush. 50+4+13+19+8=94
We also experimented with a bit of Arizona Viognier I brought back, but the wine was not great and I did not really feel like trying it too much. I recorked it and put it in the fridge for later.
Then a friend opened a bottle from his car:
2005 Sine Qua Non Raven No. 5 Syrah
93% Syrah, 5% Grenache, and 2% Viognier, primarily from the Eleven Confessions Vineyard with small quantities from the Bien Nacido and White Hawk vineyards. Inky purple in color, opaque and bright. What a great nose. Layers of black raspberry, some blueberry, bacon fat, black pepper. No sign of the 15.5% Alc. On the palate, this was tight. Well, it is young and just spent the prior few days being shipped. Still, it is a monster of flavors and outshone the Jaffurs. It was sucked down by all of us quickly so I did not get to see what happened with a few hours of air. This is certainly in the same league as the Atlantis and perhaps a bit more toned down than the Papa or Midnight Oil, which is a good thing IMO. Thanks for opening this, a real treat. 50+4+15+19+9=97
We finished with some 1958 Barbeito Malvasia Madeira
This bottle was opened for my birthday last September. It has been in my cellar, recorked but not gassed. I was impressed by it. The nose was a bit musty and showed some oxidation and alcohol but also some nice nuttiness. On the palate, there was a bit of nuttiness but a wonderful chocolate covered orange quality that lingered for a long time on the palate. At least for this 50 year old Madeira, it was certainly doing just fine six months after being opened.